The Chicago Bears joined the playoffs Monday night, defeating Brett Favre and the Vikings to clinch the NFC North and with it a spot in the postseason, and updating the NFL playoff scenarios.
The Bears are in good position to keep the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye thanks to their win over the Philadelphia Eagles (also 10-4) earlier this month. This all means that the Green Bay Packers, coming off a loss to the New England Patriots, now must win-out to clinch a Wild Card berth -- a loss to the New York Giants on Sunday (a huge game) would eliminate them from playoff contention.
1. New England Patriots (11-2; clinched playoff berth)
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4; clinched playoff berth)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (9-5; wins in the final two games, both at home, gives the Chiefs the AFC West)
4. Indianapolis Colts (8-6; beat the Jaguars to move into a tie for first place in the AFC South. If the Colts win out, they win the division)
Wild Card Leaders:
5. Baltimore Ravens (10-4; Ravens own tiebreaker against the Jets and have final two games against the 5-9 Browns and 3-11 Bengals)
6. New York Jets (10-4; Sunday's win in Pittsburgh went a long way to keep the Jets' playoffs hopes alive)
Outside Looking In: San Diego Chargers (8-6), Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6), Oakland Raiders (7-7)
San Diego needs to win-out and have the Chiefs lose a game at home (where they're undefeated this season), while the Jaguars missed out on their chance to win the AFC South with Sunday's loss at Indy and now will need some help. The Raiders are out of Wild Card contention, but if they can pass the Chiefs in the standings they'll win the AFC West.
1. Atlanta Falcons (12-2; clinched playoff berth and wraps up NFC South with win or Saints loss in Week 16)
2. Chicago Bears (10-4; clinched playoff berth by winning NFC North Monday night)
3. Philadelphia Eagles (10-4; can win NFC East with a win or a Giants loss next week)
4. St. Louis Rams (6-8; lost on Sunday, but maintained their division lead)
Wild Card Teams:
5. New Orleans Saints (10-4)
6. New York Giants (9-5)
Outside Looking In: Green Bay Packers (8-6), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6), G, Seattle Seahawks (6-8), San Francisco 49ers (5-9)
With Green Bay's loss at New England Sunday night, their second loss in a row, and the Bears' win over the Vikings Monday night, the Packers are left playing for a Wild Car slot in Week 16, when the Giants visit Green Bay. A loss to New York, and the Packers would be eliminated. Meanwhile, Tampa needs to win out and get help, and amazingly, both the Seahawks and 49ers are still alive for the NFC West. It could very well come down to the final game of the season when Seattle hosts current division leader St. Louis.